Western Express settles lawsuit against Pilot Flying J


A Nashville trucking firm that said it lost more than $75 million because of Pilot Flying J has settled its lawsuit against the Knoxville-based truck stop chain.

In August, Western Express sued Pilot in Orleans Parish Civil District Court, alleging that it had lost more than $75 million because of diesel fuel rebate fraud by Pilot. That total allegedly included more than $68 million in expenses related to additional debt obligations it was forced to incur.

The case was filed by a firm with a lengthy history in class action suits against tobacco companies, New Orleans-based Gauthier, Houghtaling & Williams.

This month, though, the attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the suit, and an order to that effect was issued on Wednesday.

Paul Wieck, the president of Western Express, confirmed Thursday that the suit had been settled, but declined to give terms of the deal.

“We never stopped our relationship with Pilot, and they’re a great partner … They had some issues within their organization that they got worked out and … it’s our plan for that partnership to last a long, long time,” he said.

Western Express has been in the spotlight during a government investigation of alleged diesel fuel rebate fraud at Pilot, the Knoxville-based chain of truck stops.

A federal affidavit released in April indicated that Pilot was forced to buy a private airplane from Western Express, after Western discovered it was being shorted on fuel rebates.

Aubrey Harwell, an attorney for Pilot, has said the plane transaction “is not as some are trying to make it,” but declined further comment because of a grand jury investigation.

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